New York’s new governor Kathy Hochul is aiming to make her state’s cannabis industry fairer for marginalized communities, and will create a public-private fund to promote equity and economic justice.
On Wednesday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul released her State of the State document, listing the programs and priorities her government will focus on.
Along with middle-class tax cuts and relief for small businesses, Hochul’s government agenda includes a US$200-million fund to support marginalized applicants in building cannabis businesses.
“While New York has committed to making its cannabis industry more equitable, this action will put that commitment into practice. New York will lead where many other states have fallen short,” reads the document.
The state plans to start issuing licences for what’s expected to be a billionaire-dominated industry, and Hochul says she wants to create opportunities for all New Yorkers with a focus on those that have been negatively impacted by enforcement.
The state says it wants to go beyond providing basic business support and training, by also providing direct capital and startup financing to social-equity applicants.
The fund will help achieve s stated goal of allocating 50 per cent of all licences to individuals from impacted communities, as well as minorities, women, distressed farmers, justice-involved individuals and service-disabled veterans.
The state will also create a government-run business incubator to further support equity applicants.
“Together these actions will help ensure that as New York’s cannabis industry thrives in the year ahead, more New Yorkers can reap the rewards.”
Last November, the head of the state’s cannabis board said New York’s adult-use cannabis market won’t be online until 2023 when the first licences are issued. But technically, under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act signed earlier this year, sales are allowed in 2022.